Spanish Tapas Night in Bam’s Kitchen, round two continues with Beef Empanadas. I have a very dear friend from Argentina and she makes the most wonderful empanadas you have ever tasted. I am sure this is something that was passed on to her from generation to generation, as I have never tasted anything that has even come close to it since.
Several years ago, I visited her on a day she was having a special gathering in her home. She had made so many beef empanadas that every surface in her kitchen was covered with these little yummy delights. I remember how flaky the empanada crust was and of course the delicious hearty fillings were to die for. It was the perfect match for the glass of red wine she had offered to me. To my dear friend Maria, this recipe is for you.
Empanada treats are prevalent in Spain, Portugal, Latin America, Argentina, Philippines and Caribbean and other places around the world and are a type of stuffed pastry. Empanadas are often served at parties or festivals either as a starter or as part of the main meal. Empanadas have many different fillings depending on where they are originated from. In addition, empanadas can be either baked or fried.
In traditional beef empanadas it has many fillings such as beef, raisins, olives, hard boiled eggs and such. I personally love the traditional version but once again my audience at home I am cooking for is “teenagers”. If any recipe does not get past my QA (Quality Assurance) analyst (youngest teenager, taste tester and professional food critic) then it does not hit my cooking blog. It is simple as that. With that being said, I took the liberty of adjusting the traditional ingredients so that it would be suitable for the picky teenagers in my household.
Just as an FYI, I brought out to the kitchen table a full plate of fried beef empanadas and headed back to kitchen to grab some last minute supplies. Upon my return to the table, only a few crumbs left on the plate.
The entire dish of beef empanadas were gone in nano-seconds. No words were said by Mr. QA analyst, but actions DO show louder than words. These little empanadas were a big hit. I hope your friends and family enjoy them too.
Beef Empanadas: (Serves 8 adults or 2 hungry teenagers as a snack or approximately 30-35 small beef empanadas)
Empanada Dough Recipe
- 3 cups flour (plus a little more for kneading)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 3 tablespoons butter or shortening
Step 1: In a small bowl beat egg, and add water and vinegar and mix together.
Step 2: In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients of flour and salt. Add butter and use a blender to mix.
Step 3: Add the egg, water, vinegar mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with blender until just combined.
Step 4: On a clean and floured surface lay out the dough and kneed gently just a couple of times to bring the dough together.
Step 5: Form the dough into a ball and wrap in syran wrap and refrigerate for one hour. (During this time make your beef empanada filling-recipe below)
Step 6: Take dough out of refrigerature and pat flat with hands and then lightly dust with flour the surface your are setting it on and top and use rolling pin to flatten dough.
Step 7: Step use a drinking cup or any device you have to cut out round circles from your dough (Just make sure you dip your cup in flour before cutting the dough so it does not stick)
Step 8: Make the Empanada filling- Recipe below.
Beef Empanada Filling
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3-4 tablespoons mild salsa (or per taste)
- salt and pepper
Empanada Assembly and Cooking
- olive oil (enough for so that it covers the bottom of your pan)
- fork for pressing and sealing empanadas
- empanada dough circles
- beef empanada filling
- little bowl of water
Step 1: Take one empanada dough circle in your hand and place about 1 teaspoon of beef empanada filling inside. (Less filling is better in this situation as if you overfill the empanada it will break open during the cooking process) Dampen your finger tip lightly in a little bowl of water and run your fingers around the edges of the dough to help it seal.
Step 2: Fold the empanada dough in a half circle and crimp the edges with your fingers.
Step 3: Place the empanada on a a flat surface and using a fork gently use the fork edges to make a seal around the outer edges of the empanada. (The is will help reinforce the filling stay inside the flaky crust while cooking) Repeat this process and depending on the size of your cup you will end up with somewhere between 30-35 little beef empanadas.
Step 4: Place enough oil in your frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan and bring to a medium heat.
Step 5: Place the beef empanadas in the frying pan and cook until golden brown on each side. Turn after about 2 minutes. (about 5 minutes total) Depending on the size of the pan just fry in small batches as is easier to control the heat and easier to turn with fewer in the pan. (Just as an FYI, these beef empanadas can also be baked on a greased cookie sheet after first brushing a little egg wash on top of empanada and then bake in 400 degree F oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown)
Step 6: Eat and enjoy. Beef empanadas can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. (It is a great option for a make ahead party appetizer. Bite sized, hearty, but yet with a light and crispy crust is sure to please the crowds)